In the 1970s and 1980s Bank of America had a branch in Running Springs at what is now First Mountain Bank. The site was originally the Running Springs Women’s Club clubhouse and it was built by the residents of Running Springs. At that time there were many masons and builders in every trade you could possibly imagine and they all pitched in when it came time to build a community center. Throughout the years hundreds of events were held at the site. The clubhouse was the gathering place for locals, part-time residents and friends. Dances, potlucks, meetings and everything in between took place at that site and it was even used as a school at one point. (Prior to that some of the children went to school in the famous Wagon Wheel which was a bar/restaurant on Hilltop Blvd).
Eventually the upkeep became an issue and as expenses grew the clubhouse was used less and less and eventually it was sold to Bank of America. It became a bank and remained a branch of Bank of America for many years until the bank closed it and moved all the remaining accounts to their Lake Arrowhead branch in the late 1980s or early 1990s. When local residents and customers heard that the bank was going to close they were, of course, very concerned, especially those of us who were local Bank of America customers. But the bank had determined to “pull out” of Running Springs. I still remember the meeting the Running Springs Area Chamber of Commerce hosted and the concern of the residents who didn’t want their accounts moved to Lake Arrowhead. Many of them wanted to know what the chamber was going to do about it and what we were going to do to keep the bank in “our” local area.It wasn’t that people don’t like Lake Arrowhead they didn’t want to ride the “Rim” in snowy and icy weather all the way to Lake Arrowhead, especially since they had a local bank here in the community for so many years.
Obviously, those of us on the chamber had no say in the decision made by the large corporation so the only thing we could do was to make “as much noise” as we could so we had a small, but vocal demonstration in the bank parking lot. I had spent hours the night before making picket signs the last day the bank was open and we had a few people turn out for the lunch-time demonstration. We also looked for another bank but due to the small number of local residents that would use the bank it was a “no-go.”
To the rescue, in many ways, came the San Bernardino County Central Credit Union. A small office was opened on Hilltop Blvd. at the site that is currently Springs of Life church. The credit union had one employee as I recall, Sandy Mossberg. She was absolutely wonderful, friendly and helpful, but the credit union eventually closed, probably due to a lack of a sufficient number of local members.
Of course I wrote and printed a story or it was really more like an editorial in (my then local newspaper) so here it is: “The members of the San Bernardino County Central Credit Union extend their thanks to Branch Manager Sandy Mossberg. Sandy has been such an asset and is being transferred to the Del Rosa Branch as Friday is the last day that the credit union is open in Running Springs. The branch will be sorely missed by those of us who supported the credit union. Remember, if you wait around to see if a business is in operation for several months or years before you will support it, it probably won’t be there. This is a big loss for those of us who are members of this institution.”
I know the community remains grateful to First Mountain Bank for their continuing presence in the community because without them we would, in all likelihood, be bankless.